The Secretary of the Rivers FA confirmed the development.
The Federation Cup final in Rivers State between Sharks FC and Dolphins FC, scheduled for Sunday May 5, has been cancelled as the Rivers Football Association Secretary, Benjamin Akobo, has said they are broke.
One of the finalist, Dolphins FC of Port Harcourt, confirmed the development via their official twitter handle on Sunday morning.
“@DolphinsFC: FA Cup final in Rivers State between Sharks and Dolphins cancelled as the Rivers FA Secretary, Benjamin Akobo says they are broke”, Dolphins said on their twitter account.
Mr. Akobo also confirmed this to PREMIUM TMES.
“We didn’t get any funds released from the Rivers State Sports Ministry and there is nothing we can do about it,” he said.
Before the cancellation of the final, the Rivers State Fed Cup has been enmeshed in one form of controversy or the other.
Qualified referees where not used by the Rivers FA for the matches of this year’s competition.
Sources from Port Harcourt reveal that the state FA, rather than use referees for the games, gave the job to coaches of clubs not involved in the competition.
“Apparently there was a rift between the state FA and the referees and the FA decided to call the bluff of the referees. They went ahead to use coaches as match officials, rather than qualified referees,” a Port Harcourt based journalist, Nduka Orjinmo, was quoted as saying on futaa.com.
Orjinmo added, “I spoke to the FA Secretary and he said there was a disagreement over who appoints referees for the matches. He wanted the FA to do it while the referees association said that was their job.
“He said the referees told him they wouldn’t officiate the games if they were not the ones who made the appointments so he called their bluff.”
Apart from the hullabaloo on referees appointment, the Rivers FA is also being accused of supporting one of the traditional state teams, Sharks FC, to make the final at all cost.
In Sharks’ semi final game with Go Round FC, an amateur side, the game was disrupted with just four minutes left to play.
At the time of that disruption, Go Round was 2-1 up.
According to Team Manager of Go Round FC, Soni Uboh, the disruption was engineered by Sharks to rob them of a place in the final; so they sent their fans to disrupt the game.
“Remember this has happened before in 2009 when CKC FC where about to take the game against Sharks and they did the same thing and Go Round also suffered the same fate against Dolphins the same season”, Uboh said.
“We watch the European Leagues and see small clubs go all the way in the FA Cup and League Cup and that is the beauty of the Cups,” Uboh said.
The state FA decided that the game should be replayed but Go Round refused.
“How can we replay a game from the start that we were leading, but was disrupted with only four minutes to play?” Uboh asked. “Go Round will never take part in any Rivers State FA organized competition since it is obvious that there is a grand plan from the state FA to ensure only Sharks and Dolphins play the final.”
Sharks and Dolphins are already selected to represent Rivers State at the national level in the 2013 Federation Cup, a trend that has been in place for the last 15 years.
Mr. Akobo also defended the state’s decision on its two representatives.
“I can defend this decision anywhere and anyone who does not like it can make a protest. That is the way it will be. Since both teams have qualified for the National finals, we don’t need to bug ourselves with the ceremonial finals,” he said.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...